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September 22, 1997

Features

Leonard Manevich Leonard Manevich with some characters from his fairy tales



Old Lady From One Of His Fairy Tales From Manevich's, "The Chocolate Lady."



Russian man brings his talents to Woodinville

  by Deborah Stone
   Woodinville has been a city of growth these past several years. Included in this growth have been people of varying cultural backgrounds who have come here, seeking a quality of life that our community is known for. One such example is Leonard Manevich, a Russian who came to this area five years ago with his mother, Liliya, and wife, Irina.
  
   A successful writer, broadcaster, performer, illustrator, composer and reporter in central Siberia, Manevich and his family found the economic situation worsening there and the anti-Semitism towards Jews increasing. He wanted to work in a country where he would be able to publish and air material without being severely edited and censored. With the help of a sponsor, the Maneviches arrived in the US. in January, 1992.
  
   Leonard's professional career has been spent in areas that benefit children. Since his arrival, he has been trying to expose his education and talent in a community where he is still a stranger.
   He recently founded a cultural and educational nonprofit corporation in Woodinville in order to preserve Russian culture, publish books and produce educational and entertaining audio/visual programs for children. His company, Kolobok Arts' Inspiration, Assn. just released its first product, a CD of Russian folk tales.
  
   Manevich produced the CD, along with composing the original music and designing the cover. His mother, Liliya, narrates the stories in Russian. Leonard and his family used their own money to produce the product.
  
   The CD can be found at Barnes and Noble Bookstores, University Bookstore and All for Kids.
  
   A man of many creative talents, Manevich attended college and university in Russia where he studied music, journalism, drama and broadcasting. While in Russia, he was a TV and radio broadcaster, composed music and songs for TV and radio, illustrated stories, wrote articles and stories for newspapers and magazines, shot films, hosted a talk show and taught music to children.
  
   He is a multi-talented man who says of his abilities, "I truly love the creative process and the need to express myself in different ways is very important to me."
  
   These talents seem to run in the Manevich family as his mother is a speech/drama coach and his father was also in the arts and music. There is a fairly large Russian community in the Seattle area, and when Leonard first came here, he saw a need for helping other Russians with their adjustment to American culture. He produced two programs called "The Russian Hour" on Public Access Channel 29. The programs were positively received, but he was unable to continue them because of lack of sponsorship and financial resources. Once again he had to pay all of the costs on his own.
  
   He has several ideas and projects in mind to help preserve Russian culture, but thus far has not had much luck in finding the financial backing to produce them.
  
   One of his goals is to publish his own collection of original fairy tales accompanied by his unique illustrations. "The tales are whimsical and they each carry a message for living harmoniously among our neighbors. I believe that friendship and good relationships mean the most in our lives," says Manevich.
  
   He also has designed a line of unique greeting cards that he is trying to market. Leonard recently learned that his work has earned him an inclusion in the 98/99 edition of Marquis' "Who's Who in the West," a guide to nearly 20,000 of today's most influential people in the region. To be chosen for inclusion, candidates must have held a position of responsibility or have attained a significant achievement in their field.
  
   Selection is made by a board of editors. "Somebody nominated me, and I was contacted and asked to send in various materials," says Manevich. "I was very surprised to be selected for this honor."
   Employment opportunities in the fields in which Leonard wishes to work are very limited, so he has had to rely on his language skills to become a certified interpreter. Although he doesn't mind interpreting, he says, "All I really want to do is get back to the work I love. It has been rough going. I just hope that something will turn up for me." He has approached various companies and television and radio stations, but has only encountered rejection at this time.
  
   Leonard welcomes calls and would be interested in discussing his work. He can be contacted at 485-6567 or through Kolobok Arts' Inspiration, Assn., 14136 N.E. Woodinville-Duvall Rd., Suite 107, Woodinville, 98072.
  
   Illustration courtesy of Leonard Manevich
   Illustration from Manevich's fairy tale, "The Chocolate Lady."
   Photo courtesy of Leonard Manevich
   Leonard Manevich with some characters from his fairy tales